The Supreme Court of Nepal on Sunday scrapped the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and revived the two original parties that had joined hands in 2018 to form the ruling party. With this decision, the original ruling alliance between the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre) has been re-established. Prime Minister Oli’s faction has welcomed the decision.
A joint bench of Justices Kumar Regmi and Bam Kumar Shrestha took away the name of the ruling NCP because of a case filed by Rishi Kattel, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal. Mr. Kattel had filed a writ petition arguing that the “Nepal Communist Party” formed following the merger of the CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Centre) in 2018 had copied his party’s name.
The surprising development came in the backdrop of the first session of the reinstated House of Representatives which witnessed stormy scenes as the faction led by Co-Chair of the NCP Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal walked out soon after the Lower House met. They were protesting against the tabling of a controversial ordinance by the Oli government.
The judicial intervention is being interpreted as a move that will strengthen Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli who was dealt a blow when the Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives two months after President BD Bhandari had dissolved it on Cabinet recommendation.
“We respect the decision given by the honourable Supreme Court. The joint bench has quashed our 2018 alliance and restored the previous political parties. So as of now Prime Minister Oli as the leader of CPN-UML is the leader of the largest political formation in Parliament with 121 members. Mr. Prachanda as the leader of the CPN (Maoist-Centre) will have 53 members,” said Dr. Rajan Bhattarai, Foreign Affairs Adviser to PM Oli.
Mr. Oli was sworn in in February 2018 after he won the election as the Chairperson of the CPN-UML in alliance with other parties including the CPN-Maoist Centre.
Following the victory, the two major Left wing parties came together and formed a single outfit — Nepal Communist Party which had its nine-member Secretariat, 45-member Standing Committee and a Central Committee with 441 members.
The verdict has scrapped the party but the fate of the three internal organs — Secretariat, Standing Committee and the Central Committee — is not yet clear as several members of the two alliance partners had amalgamated and thrown a challenge to Mr. Oli’s authority within the NCP. The decision of the Supreme Court has revived the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre but the composition of the two parties may not be like before. The decision also puts an abrupt end to the infighting between the Prachanda-Nepal faction of the NCP and Mr. Oli. Mr. Prachanda had argued that his faction should be recognised as the real NCP but the verdict has closed that argument as well.